The International Humanitarian University was founded on August 20, 2002 as a non-state higher education institution of collective ownership. The team of the university determined its purpose in democratization of education through the realization of ideals and values of civil society, openness and cooperation in the humanization of the worldview and thinking of specialists in all branches of knowledge, the approach and accessibility of education to each person on the basis of personal freedom of creativity.
On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the International Humanitarian University, it would be appropriate to recall how its formation of a modern higher education institution occurred.
The constituent documents of the university were registered by the Executive Committee of the Odessa City Council on August 22, 2002 under No. 803 and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (registration No. 239 of August 23, 2002). The University was incorporated into the Unified State Register of Enterprises and Organizations of Ukraine (Certificate of the Odessa Regional State Statistics Department of the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine No. 03 dated August 28, 2002).
The idea of the foundation of the International University in Odessa was formed at Odessa University in the late 80's - the early 90-ies of the last century and actively supported by its rector, Professor Zelinsky Igor Petrovich. The location of the university outside the city has already been determined on an inter-luminous land plot with the construction of a campus, and lawyers were instructed to prepare its constituent documents. However, the dissolution of the USSR and subsequent events did not provide the opportunity to realize this noble idea.
We must pay tribute to the courage, perseverance and courage of the President of Odessa National Law Academy, People's Deputy of Ukraine, Professor Kivalov S.V., who in ten years revived the idea on a new, humanitarian level. Moreover, in those days of deep and comprehensive crisis phenomena, including in the field of educational activity, he found effective means of its realization by combining the existing scientific and teaching potential of the city, as well as the targeted use of charitable donations, sponsor investments, overseas and other non-state funds for the establishment of a higher education institution of a new type.
According to the founders' requirements and the content of the constituent documents of the university, the main novelty in the training of specialists of the twenty-first century is: firstly, knowledge of the fundamentals of science and the necessary applied professional knowledge in the chosen areas of education; secondly, high skills in computer equipment operation at the level of professional specialists; and thirdly, a very good command of foreign languages. Creating a non-state university is a step in the transition to a dynamic system of training specialists.
It should be emphasized that the time for the university’s establishment appeared fortunate and the place in the educationally developed region was well grounded. The formation of the personnel potential according to the chosen directions of the academic activity, development of the relevant educational and methodological packages, construction of the necessary facilities and the corresponding university’s infrastructure – all this testifies to the fact.
The research and academic staff of any educational institution comprise its “gold fund” and is usually the subject matter of special pride. Even prior to the beginning of our university’s educational activity, over 25 doctors of sciences, professors and 40 candidates of sciences, associate professors expressed their desire to work at the university either on a full-time or part-time basis. They all had a long and successful working experience at Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University as well as at Polytechnic, Economic, Pedagogical Universities, Academy of Law, regional department of the Institute of Administration and other higher educational establishments.
The keen interest in the work at the newly fledged university could be explained by the fact that most of the government funded educational institutions had curtailed budgetary financing of training specialists in humanitarian sciences within the previous 5-6 years; at the same time self-funded education in the sphere appeared limited due to scarce educational and material facilities. Therefore, establishment of a new university with humanitarian direction of training specialists opened wide possibilities for the use of the personnel potential, created new working places for highly qualified professors and academic staff of the existing educational institutions. Educational and assistant personnel of the city’s universities were also quite active in seeking jobs at the new university.
Despite certain problems concerning the formation of the working load due to the lack of sufficient number of students the first group of the entrants was enrolled for studies in four specialties in 2003 and in eight specialties in 2004.
For the purpose of following the Laws of Ukraine “On Education” and “On Higher Education” and improvement of the qualitative selection of the students, the economic and law college was founded as a university’s structural unit by the decision of the Meeting of the founding members of the university of 5 March 2003. The establishment of the college and its Statute was approved by 26 March 2003 Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, No 251. State Certification Commission licensed the relevant specialties of the educational activity according to which the training of junior specialists is still provided.
A big bulk of work concerning educational and methodological provision in the chosen directions of academic activity was done in the period of the university’s establishment. The concepts of educational activity were developed according to the directions concerning training specialists of educational and qualification level of “bachelor” and “master” as well as educational and qualification programs and educational-professional characteristics for the specialists, syllabuses and course programs, annotations of educational subjects of fundamental, humanitarian, socio-economic and professional training (including those chosen by the university), plans of practical lessons and seminars, assignments tasks, programs for educational and practical training for the students, etc. They all were developed on the basis of state norms and standards recommended and approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and other normative acts.
The students are provided with the educational and methodological, academic and scientific literature, monographs and periodicals, relevant text books, manuals and handbooks from the students’ library of Odessa Academy of Law. The university was simultaneously creating its own library. Thus, in 2003, the university purchased 50,000 and in 2004 – 80,000 books for the university’s library fund. Presently, the library book fund has exceeded several hundred thousand books.
Furthermore, the relevant agreements were concluded with Odessa state scientific library named after M.Gorky and Odessa regional British Council Center concerning library services for the university’s students and academic staff members.
The most notable results were achieved by the university in the sphere of development of the material base created within the first two years. This was largely promoted by the fact that the university was registered as a non-profitable organization since its very foundation. Therefore, neither the founders nor the management of the university aim at gaining profit. In fact, all the university’s revenues are allotted for the academic staff’s and personnel’s salaries and formation of the library fund and development of the educational facilities.
All the university’s staff members received modern work places and could use new computers with the corresponding communication equipment. The development of the material base was financed by the university’s own funds, money donated by the founding members – mostly charity foundations – and the means from the statutory fund of the university. Further, the development of the material base was funded on the basis of self-financing.
Due to the active publishing activity, the Academic Council of the university adopted the decision to establish its own scientific periodical. The License KB No 8958 of 13 June 2004 for publication of the nation-wide periodical in Ukrainian, Russian and English up to 10 printed pages twice a year titled “Naukovi Zapiski Mizhnarodnogo Gumanitarnogo Universitetu” (Scientific Papers of the International Humanitarian University) was issued by the decision of the State Committee for Television, Radio Broadcast and Mass Media of Ukraine.
Certain positive developments in the formation of the university’s social infrastructure could be witnessed in the initial years. Its development began with the creation of normal working conditions for the academic staff and assistant personnel as well as managing staff of the university and the college. The renewed main building exploitation allowed solving the problem of accommodation of the university’s own library. In addition, the new building housed the students’ café.
These examples of the university’s achievements in the formation of the academic and educational activity, its methodological base, creation of material base and social infrastructure do not mean that they appeared without problems. There are always certain hardships in launching a new project especially when it concerns establishing a new educational institution in an “educationally developed” city. It should be noted that in the initial period, the establishment of the new university received skeptical reaction. However, the founding members and university’s management were ready for such forms of treatment of the new educational institution. They persistently and confidently went on fulfilling the tasks set by the founders and step by step approached the target.
Naturally, there were inside problems of organizational, financial, personnel and other character; there were also external difficulties with registration and licensing, which could not be completed without much effort.
However, in the formation of the university as a modern non-state institution of higher education there were and still remain problems of an objective nature. Actually, there is still some prejudicial attitude towards the non-state educational institution. In the Western world, on the contrary, state universities are less authoritative. In general, such an attitude is understandable in our society, taking into account the existence of state educational institutions for a long time.
Despite these and other difficulties on the path to the establishment of the International Humanitarian University, it can be clearly stated that today it is a modern institution of higher education that can be put forward as a successful project implementation.
Pro bono publico – For the public good
(2004 – 2011)
One would think – it was in October 2002 – I crossed the threshold of a new only two months ago created university, located in a small two-story house with mansard on Pioneer Street. It was an old building, which was not comparable with the ones of Odessa State University, which has a century-long history, with numerous buildings, a magnificent Scientific Library, a large Botanical Garden, its own stadium. There were many prominent scientists in Odessa State University. Nobel Prize winner I.I. Mechnikov and physicist G. Gamov took lectures there. G.Gamov was a great author of the explosive "creation" model of the universe. And in the beginning of the 21 century another university in Odessa was established– International Humanitarian, boldly challenging the solid and distinguished Grand Master of higher education – and my Alma Mater.
For many centuries of its existence and development, the university as a social institution is a community of people, united by the desire to gain a new knowledge. The university principles and values have always been genuine for me from the very beginning, as if existing a priori. I have always had a clear idea that academic freedom, the emphasis on scientific work and the high qualification of the teaching staff should be the cornerstone of the new institution policy.
Educated in classical academic traditions, I could not imagine that the fate would give me a happy opportunity to work at the university of a new type, which should independently choose its own way, relying only on its own strength, – in short, in a free university, – but, at the same time at the university that does not receive public funding. It took a lot of courage for our founders to create the University in 2002, when many non-state universities have already been celebrating the tenth anniversary of their finding in the educational market. Yes, and the very notion of the university as a market institution pains ears to those who grew up in a socially oriented state with free education. In order to win the market, to be competitive, the new university had to possess special qualities.
Being invited to work at the university, I knew that the author and the initiator of this project and its inspirer was the great political leader, the President of the Odessa National Law Academy, deputy of the Verkhovnaya Rada of Ukraine, Sergei Vasilyevich Kivalov. We were old friends yet to work together in Odessa State (now – national) І.І. Mechnikov University, where Sergey Vasilyevich led the most dynamic unit – the Law Institute, and I was the first vice-rector. This unit had the right to be an independent legal entity, which was given to it by the decision of the Academic Council of the University on the proposal of Rector I.P. Zelinsky. A person of progressive views, a supporter of democratic reforms in the state, where authoritarian methods of management reigned, he was the first to begin the practice of management decentralization This was manifested in the fact that he proposed to grant the rights of legal entities (disposal of funds from contract students) to the largest units of the university – and the Academic Council supported its leader. Igor Petrovich accepted my proposal that extrabudgetary funds (obtained from contract students) should be distributed in the proportion of 70% - 30% in favor of the units. The first departments, which obtained financial independence, were the Law Institute and the Institute of Mathematics, Economics and Mechanics, and the Institute of Social Sciences was on the waiting list. When I.P. Zelinsky left the post of rector in 1995, he was replaced by Professor V.A. Smintyna, who professed other values. He began to lead a line to eliminate the independence of the university units. Ultimately, right of force won, the autonomy was abolished, everything turned full circle – and the deans were given the right to dispose of only a tenth of the financial revenues. It would seem that the problem is exhausted. It was a common surprise when, just two years later, in 1997, the Minister of Higher Education came to the decision to create a new university – Odessa State Law Academy, based on the allocation of the Legal Institute from Odessa I.I. Mechnikov State University. Only three years later, in 2000, the young Odessa State Law Academy became the first in Odessa to receive the status of a national one, which seemed incredible for the city where universities with centuries-old history have always been existed.
By the time Sergey Vasilyevich Kivalov established the university he had managed to create a modern, European level educational-scientific complex in the area of the 4th Great Fontan Station – Odessa State (now – National) Law Academy. And at that particular time I became a participant in the formation of the second University in the city – International Humanitarian.
The grand opening of the new University took place on December 2, 2002. There was a severe frost, it was snowy with abrupt gusts of wind, but the IHU reigned a festive mood. Famous and distinguished guests from Ukraine and abroad, from the city and the region have gathered to celebrate the event. Sergey Vasilyevich Kivalov opened the ceremony, he traditionally cut the ribbon.
Sergey Vasilyevich Kivalov invited me to the position of the first vice-rector. As a rector Ilya Ivanovich Karakash was appointed, and, as I saw later, he was a great professional with outstanding human qualities. Due to them, we had no problems with the constituent documents: Ilya Ivanovich simply took a pen and paper – and in an hour an impeccable legal document laid on the table.
One of the first cases of our small team (all first year we had only four administrative people – Rector, Vice-Rector, accountant and manager) was the creation of the emblem of the University. For all of us it was a small step to join the European family of brothers, for whom this symbol was the usual way of representing themselves to the outside world. After receiving the blessing of the IHU President, we approached fundamentally to a matter: consulted with experts on heraldry, invited artists, designers. The performers of the emblem were my old friends, members of the Union of Artists of Ukraine Vladimir E. Mezhevchuk and Alexander M. Karpushkin. As a basis of emblem, I offered to take a branch of acacia on the globe background – a traditional symbol of the city, dating back to the days when Felix de Ribas, the younger brother of the founder of Odessa Joseph de Ribas, planted the first tree in the deserted and dry steppe, where Odessa was founded. He chose unpretentious acacia, which eventually flooded the city and until now fills the streets with their heady smell aroma in the spring May evenings. We chose the Latin "Pro bono publico" - "For the public good" as a motto of the university.
The heraldic debut of the artists had unexpected and promising continuation for the IHU – they became the first employees of the new university unit, created in 2008, which later became the foundation of the Faculty of Art and Design. One of the authors of the coat of arms, V.E. Mezhevchuk, in 2017, received an honorary title of the Honored Artist of Ukraine. Alexander V. Tokarev, head of the department of design and the first dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design, the Honored Artist of Ukraine, a member of the Board of the National Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine, gave the old coat of arms a special sophistication. Since then, this coat of arms has become the official symbol of the university and adorns with its perfect aesthetics many of the University's documents and printed production.
The new dean of the faculty, Yaroslav V. Lupii, is a People's Artist of Ukraine. Director of many well-known films, he successfully develops all specializations of the faculty and creates new ones. In 2017, the faculty released the first bachelors in specialization "Cinema and Television" who showed their debut cinematographic works in the halls of the famous Odessa film studio.
And then the everyday’s routine began – it was necessary to prepare documents on licensing of specialties in the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
This is a difficult matter for any university, and especially the new, non-state educational institution, which in almost all official instances met with mistrust and open-mindedness. The first one was a specialty "International Economic Relations", the following two - "Management of Organizations" and "Management of Foreign Economic Activity", then - "Jurisprudence". I recall how carefully the ministries discussed the curricula prepared by us, literally every program was subjected to a strict examination. When licensing the specialty "Enterprise Economics", the expert council of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine at the Kyiv National Economic University twice refused us a license, and only at the third meeting, we received a positive result. Equally difficult was the licensing of medical specialties. Even the great authority of the first dean of the Medical Institute, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Galina P. Peklina, did not always solve our problems. It should be said that no further fundamental difficulties of licensed professions has arisen in the process of accreditation – the university has always proved the high quality of its educational programs. Gradually, we got experience and no longer seemed to be newcomers, and an attitude towards us also improved – we scrupulously fulfilled all the requirements of the Law "On Higher Education", which is always valued in the professional environment.
On April 13, 2005, the University moved to a new building at the fifth Great Fontan Station and quickly gained a new look. Our founders completed two floors, fully renovated the entire building and premises, stairs, and also they decorated the ground floor with marble. The bag courtyard turned into a true piece of park art, where the sculptural group in honor of the founders of IHU was harmoniously located. It was executed by the famous Odessa artist, Honored Worker of Arts of Ukraine Oleksandr Knyazik, author of sculptures of De Ribas, Mickiewicz, Vysotsky, Tolstoy, Marazli, located in Odessa streets.
In 2007, the delegation of the University received an invitation to visit Liverpool University. Starting with this visit, cooperation with foreign universities began.
In 2009, Sergei Vasilyevich set the task – to accredit all the university programs as a whole. Probably, our collective never worked as hard as in the winter-spring of 2009-2010. There were practically no comments from six member’s commission. And the victory came – on March 30, 2010 at the regular session of the State Accreditation Commission the university was accredited as a higher education institution of the fourth, higher level! At that time, we were only 8 years old ...
A year later, another important event took place – the world community of universities officially recognized the IHU as its member. On September 16, 2011, the University of Bologna (Italy) hosted a solemn ceremony for the University to join the Charter of the Universities.
The adoption of the “Magna Charta Universitatum” is the result of the proposal that Bologna University appealed to leading European universities in 1986.
By signing the Charter, the IHU has undertaken to adhere to these principles and has made a contribution to Ukraine's aspirations to join the European Union.
After 2011 - the last year of my tenure as rector - there were still many significant and interesting events, but this is an another story. Other leaders will write down new facts in the history of the university. This is the construction of a parochial school with the church of Sergei Radonezhski on the Inter-raft seafarers base, and a recreation center in Zatoka, which is not inferior in comfort to the best resorts in the world, and a first class sports complex at the 8th Fontan station, and much more. Some years later, new generations, new artists, sculptors, directors - and among them university graduates, - turning to our time, will create sculptures, artistic canvases, films, in which the new Odessa University with its creators will take their place. The sculptural group will return to the yard of the university, where, as before, the man in the foreground will hold a mockup of a magnificent building created by his will, in which once gathered intelligent, energetic and highly creative people to build up a temple of science in which they worship the new Knowledge - in the name of the future, which, of course, will be bright and beautiful.
Vivat membrum quodlibet!
Vivant membra quaelibet!
Semper sint in flore!
| Long live the academy!
Long live the professors!
Long live each student;
Long live the whole fraternity;
Forever may they flourish!